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Plan a Healthy and Fun Summer Picnic

If you’ve spent the long winter and rainy spring hibernating in your home, the summer months are the perfect time to plan an outdoor activity.

Before you pack your basket and head to the park with a pretty blanket, a Frisbee – and maybe even a bottle of wine -  use these tips to make your outing simple and satisfying.

Tip #1: Plan Ahead. If you’re planning a homemade picnic meal, prepare as much as you can the night before. You can chop, wash and dry fruits and veggies so they’ll be crisp, fresh and ready for salads or snacking. To save even more time the next morning, assemble sandwiches the night before your picnic – just hold the water-based ingredients, such as cucumber or tomato, otherwise you’ll end up with soggy bread. You could also make one of these 8 creative picnic salads.

Tip #2: Food Safety Rules. Picnics can be great fun but eating outdoors can leave certain food and drinks susceptible to food borne germs and bacteria. “Pack your cooler or picnic basket with plenty of ice to keep food cold,” said Rebecca Houseal, registered dietitian. “When foods are left out at room temperature for more than sixty minutes they become more likely to spoil.”

Tip #3: Pack the Perfect Basket. Assembling a picnic basket is a fun task but can be tricky if you’re working with a small space.  Use naturally flat sandwich thins for Rainbow Sandwiches perfect for a day at the park.

Tip #4: Ditch silverware. Make the day easier by serving up easy-t0-eat finger foods.  Houseal suggests fresh seasonal produce like melons and berries, available from your local farmer’s market and ready to eat. If you’re sticking to a low carbohydrate diet or shying away from sandwiches make Quinoa and Turkey Lettuce Wraps or Chicken Wraps.

 

June 1st, 2011

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